How to become a more musical drummer

I think everything I’ve ever played or practiced (at least in the last 20 years) has been accompanied by a melody or vamp, with the exception perhaps of practicing long single and double stroke rolls.

I started playing snare and writing songs and singing while playing in 1st grade, and sometimes take that ability for granted as I know singing and drumming does not come easy to many.

But everything that I sit down and play alone, whether technical exercises or free improvisation, I am playing while singing an idea in my head, if not out loud.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a 2 note vamp with a high tone and low tone, sometimes it’s a sax solo that I’m also improvising in my head which I can feed from, feed to, or just swing with. It could be a commercial jingle or the 10 person band on the cd I’m too lazy to plug my headphones into. If I’m working on a complicated new pattern the vamp might simply be the exact notated beat that I am trying to play. But I’m hearing it in my head which gives the rest of me something to play with. For visual thinkers melodies, vamps, and simple intervals all can have shapes to them and sometimes just picturing that pattern can provide the idea you play to.

Working the mind and certainly your actual voice is a fifth “limb” that can add to any coordination overload, but it is always the first “limb” that I am playing and everything else plays along with it.

I strongly argue that anything you play using multiple sound sources on a drum set by definition can be - and should be - musical. I know some drummers don’t think the drums are musical and I encourage those to think about it differently. And perhaps as a first step try singing what you want to play or play to before picking up the sticks.
 
Last edited:

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
nuance is a KEY word...and I think too often overlooked on all instruments and interpretations

so then, a beat machine is a drummer that plays without nuance...

but I would still argue: does art/musicality have to have nuance for it to still be musical, or art? I think of Ministry, or some house/dance music; or Brutalism in Architecture...is that not art...or musical?
kraftwerk made beautiful music built on utterly rigid computer beats. So rigid I've heard them described by a hiphop artist as "funky!".
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Musicality is very subjective. For me, it's playing from the heart not the head. In a way that resonates with me.

For someone else, technical prowess may be the major benchmark.

Who's "right?"

There is no "right" Steve Gadd, musical. Phil Rudd, musical in a different way.

Who's more musical?

Mapex Saturn of course :)

It's all opinion and I'm not sure it can be quantified. Like 32nd note double bass runs...I feel like I'm being pummeled. I want to be soothed from music. But that's me and a lot of people may find soothing boring.

For me the question would be can I feel more musical. But then that creates a mindset where I must not feel I'm musical enough. Instead of being satisfied with what I do have. So this is a thinking vs feeling thing that I try to completely sidestep and just try to play the ONE thing I'm feeling as if my life depended on it. Without even thinking about....anything else. I get 99% of my ideas for the song from what I hear going on around me. So listening is probably the best answer. Listen, feel, execute, and don't do conscious thought as much as I can...is what works for me

I was gpoing to bring up Phil Rudd in the same way!!!



I strongly argue that anything you play using multiple sound sources on a drum set by definition can be - and should be - musical. I know some drummers don’t think the drums are musical and I encourage those to think about it differently. And perhaps as a first step try singing what you want to play or play too before picking up the sticks.

DEFINITELY!!! I always teach that percussion is melodic, and should be approached that way...even a single drum has different timbres to play with

kraftwerk made beautiful music built on utterly rigid computer beats. So rigid I've heard them described by a hiphop artist as "funky!".

yep...a kind of nuance for sure!!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
You can either focus on sound quality, rhythmic feel,
It's all opinion and I'm not sure it can be quantified. Like 32nd note double bass runs...I feel like I'm being pummeled. I want to be soothed from music. But that's me and a lot of people may find soothing boring.

A friend of mine once pointed out that heavy metal, especially faster metal, is sort of therapeutic for depression. Metal seems to most popular in Northern Europe, especially Finland, and in the US it’s mainly popular only with people of European descent. Depression is about 2-4 times more common among Northern European populations than in other ethnic backgrounds.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Jaco Pastorius was known to tell his drummers to just play the melody of the song if they weren't sure about a part or what to play. Makes sense if you think about it.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Musicality is very subjective. For me, it's playing from the heart not the head. In a way that resonates with me.

For someone else, technical prowess may be the major benchmark.

Who's "right?"

There is no "right" Steve Gadd, musical. Phil Rudd, musical in a different way.

Who's more musical?

Mapex Saturn of course :)

It's all opinion and I'm not sure it can be quantified. Like 32nd note double bass runs...I feel like I'm being pummeled. I want to be soothed from music. But that's me and a lot of people may find soothing boring.

For me the question would be can I feel more musical. But then that creates a mindset where I must not feel I'm musical enough. Instead of being satisfied with what I do have. So this is a thinking vs feeling thing that I try to completely sidestep and just try to play the ONE thing I'm feeling as if my life depended on it. Without even thinking about....anything else. I get 99% of my ideas for the song from what I hear going on around me. So listening is probably the best answer. Listen, feel, execute, and don't do conscious thought as much as I can...is what works for me
I think a player should adopt a principle that speaks to them. For instance, Bernard posted a video on the FB page with Gadd recording with the Buddy Rich band for a Burning for Buddy recording. Just in the first four stick clicks he tells the band "deep pocket, back of the post", and the whole song goes that way. Everybody has a comfortable space to travel on. That's the principle that I'm trying to build around. A wide beat that really sits. Ray Brown on the other hand, front of the post, point of the spear, very exciting. Stewart Copeland same way. I think it's important to find out your own deal, and polish it up.
 

Cal Galvão

New member
good morning friends ... do you know if you can record MIDI and audio channels, that is, a stereo audio track and another MIDI track at daw? ... if so, what is the procedure? .... thanks.
In the EAD10 Yamaha.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
How utterly bizzare this must seem to you.

I did it to blow your mind.

It's so easy to amuse your species, I was toying with you

damn..whats next...helping us land on Mars?
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
You can either focus on sound quality, rhythmic feel,


A friend of mine once pointed out that heavy metal, especially faster metal, is sort of therapeutic for depression. Metal seems to most popular in Northern Europe, especially Finland, and in the US it’s mainly popular only with people of European descent. Depression is about 2-4 times more common among Northern European populations than in other ethnic backgrounds.

interesting...i have been into metal since I was about 9 or 10; and am 100% Swedish descent; I did not have depression as a kid, but symptoms of it came on in my 30's...even though I really have not had anything extrinsic in my life to be depressed about for the most part, but a pretty big relationship shake up possibly triggered what seems to be a once every 10 year cycle of depression...I am just now coming out of a bout of it for the past 6 months

and metal and punk have always been 100% therapeutic for me in that it gives me a huge adrenaline rush to hear, and play that fast...I am always more calm afterwards; there is also a lot of sweeping, chaotic beauty in some styles; melodic and rhythmic beauty; lyrical beauty that I feed off of; when I was younger and more physically agile, I loved to get in the pit - circle pits though, none of the stupid hardcore spin kick, wall of death stupidity - and have fun with friends in that kind of chaos

I am now interested in finding studies about the depression in Northern Europeans thing

and as i grew older and expanded my musical horizons in my teens, I also founf non-heavy metal music that gave me the same rush and avenue for release, especially in classical...there is some great, "mean", 100% aggressive classical stuff that is just awesome. The Russian 5 are my most fav composers...tons of stuff there that gets the head baning and the horns held high....and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring...the very first "Symphonic Death Metal" song!!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
interesting...i have been into metal since I was about 9 or 10; and am 100% Swedish descent; I did not have depression as a kid, but symptoms of it came on in my 30's...even though I really have not had anything extrinsic in my life to be depressed about for the most part, but a pretty big relationship shake up possibly triggered what seems to be a once every 10 year cycle of depression...I am just now coming out of a bout of it for the past 6 months

and metal and punk have always been 100% therapeutic for me in that it gives me a huge adrenaline rush to hear, and play that fast...I am always more calm afterwards; there is also a lot of sweeping, chaotic beauty in some styles; melodic and rhythmic beauty; lyrical beauty that I feed off of; when I was younger and more physically agile, I loved to get in the pit - circle pits though, none of the stupid hardcore spin kick, wall of death stupidity - and have fun with friends in that kind of chaos

I am now interested in finding studies about the depression in Northern Europeans thing

and as i grew older and expanded my musical horizons in my teens, I also founf non-heavy metal music that gave me the same rush and avenue for release, especially in classical...there is some great, "mean", 100% aggressive classical stuff that is just awesome. The Russian 5 are my most fav composers...tons of stuff there that gets the head baning and the horns held high....and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring...the very first "Symphonic Death Metal" song!!

Stravinsky is for sure one of the first “classical heavy metal” composers, although Berlioz has a little of that vibe too. I feel like Shostakovich has a lot of that vibe too. And of course, Varese.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Stravinsky is for sure one of the first “classical heavy metal” composers, although Berlioz has a little of that vibe too. I feel like Shostakovich has a lot of that vibe too. And of course, Varese.

yep!! Shostakovich has some great, thick sounding stuff. His 5th is my most fav Symphony by him.

Oh yeah, Varese...gotta go back and review soem of his stuff too!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
damn..whats next...helping us land on Mars?
Again, funny to me that it seems like it's such a BIG accomplishment to land on Mars. That's SOOOO CUTE!

We are mainly here to make sure you don't mess it up for all the other species that are in and around here until you get it together on your own. We take shifts, a one time 20 year personal responsibility, then another dreepzop (slang, not a technical term) takes over.

We aren't the ones who are influencing your governments. That's a different, malevolent species. We love your music and art. That Gadd guy is a real favorite where I come from. There's even a saying here...Eepso schlitz Gadd, Gracken Wondo Badd! (As we try to emulate your tap dancing) That Wailin Smash guy...HE'S SO FRIGGIN FUNNY! OMG I would pee in my spacesuit if I saw a video of him while wearing it. And as we all know, that would cause a toxic chemical reaction between the....oh nevermind what the hell am I doing?

In an effort to learn the deep feelings of your species, I was sent here to observe what we consider to be the creative humans, specifically in the rhythmic areas of music. Everyone knows that the drummers are the actual guy pulling the strings. You are highly revered here, especially Art. Drummers... ARE the very core, and alone make up the center of the musical planet. So you deserve a closer look. I have 7.5 years left here. I'm thinking of staying longer, without compensation, because you guys are so INCREDIBLY cute and adorable

(I don't know where this stuff comes from)
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I'm listening to bebop jazz and the drumming seems very musical.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Again, funny to me that it seems like it's such a BIG accomplishment to land on Mars. That's SOOOO CUTE!

We are mainly here to make sure you don't mess it up for all the other species that are in and around here until you get it together on your own. We take shifts, a one time 20 year personal responsibility, then another dreepzop (slang, not a technical term) takes over.

We aren't the ones who are influencing your governments. That's a different, malevolent species. We love your music and art. That Gadd guy is a real favorite where I come from. There's even a saying here...Eepso schlitz Gadd, Gracken Wondo Badd! (As we try to emulate your tap dancing) That Wailin Smash guy...HE'S SO FRIGGIN FUNNY! OMG I would pee in my spacesuit if I saw a video of him while wearing it. And as we all know, that would cause a toxic chemical reaction between the....oh nevermind what the hell am I doing?

In an effort to learn the deep feelings of your species, I was sent here to observe what we consider to be the creative humans, specifically in the rhythmic areas of music. Everyone knows that the drummers are the actual guy pulling the strings. You are highly revered here, especially Art. Drummers... ARE the very core, and alone make up the center of the musical planet. So you deserve a closer look. I have 7.5 years left here. I'm thinking of staying longer, without compensation, because you guys are so INCREDIBLY cute and adorable

(I don't know where this stuff comes from)

methinks you all have the Secret To Life!!! Probably not gonna learn much more from us, other than how NOT to treat a planet, and each other...hell, we are already spreading our junk all over space now...and Gadd is definitely Eepso schlitz Gracken!!!
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I'm listening to bebop jazz and the drumming seems very musical.

yep...usually way more than big band swing!! Definitely different responsibilities in both situations
 
Top